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Entries in Exchange 2013 (6)


Exchange 2013 OWA Review

Let me start this way, I absolutely love the new OWA in 2013. I am a user that is on a bunch of different devices. I have an iPhone 5, iPad 2, Surface RT, MacBook Pro Retina, iMac at home and a PC desktop at work.

For my mail I use EAS on the iOS devices, I have beta tested some new mail replacements but they aren't very reliable, I will review them when they are released. On the Surface I use OWA, the built in Mail client really bugs me, I don't know why but I hate using it so I found OWA to work great. At work its Outlook 2013 and on the macs its OWA, I have been using Fluid to keep OWA in its own icon on my dock so I can always find my mail and not dig through tabs.

I like the Lync integration in OWA, I hope that Microsoft works to make it fully featured in future CUs becuase its a little awkward on the Surface in full screen IE; a new IM opens in a new window and it is annoying to switch back and fourth, it would be nice if it was embedded in the same window. Also starting a new IM isn't intuitive, searching for the user and then clicking the IM button is a little backwards.

The downside of just using OWA is notifications, yes the new mail sound does play but I don't always have my speakers on. My work around is having my phone on the table next to the device I am using (Mac or Surface) and when I see the notification of new mail I switch to OWA to read and reply to it or when the Lync mobile app shows a new IM I switch to reply. This problem isn't the fault of OWA, just of browsers in general. I had a user come to me two weeks ago and say that they loved OWA on their phone but didn't like how it was slow to refresh between looking at messages, again its not the fault of OWA but of the browser that needs to reload between pages. 

Upgrading Exchange is also a social experiment, there are some remote users that I don't hear from until the Exchange upgrade who send me long emails on why they hate the new version because some of the navigation moved from the left to the top and now its blue instead of orange and emails from others who love the change.

The most interesting thing is that many Mac users have said how much they like the new interface, which is ironic. 

Overall OWA in 2013 CU1 is a great upgrade over 2010. As the only user visible side to Exchange its important for Microsoft to keep improving it, I hope they add more features in future CUs and not make us wait until the next full version. I think that the new OWA is worth the migration to Exchange 2013 and that the other features on the backend are just a bonus for the admins.

I know some Exchange admins don't like the Exchange Admin Center, I have to admit I have only been in it a few times I mostly use Powershell for all of the administration.

I welcome your thoughts, what do you think about the new OWA?


Configuring Exchange 2013 with Powershell- Part 4: Kemp Load Balancer

I have been a little delayed in posting lately, I am hoping to finish all of the posts for Exchange 2013 now that CU 1 has been released and we can now actually deploy it.

I won't spend too much time talking about the load balancer themselves, but they are highly recomended by me, they are a small company and are quckly becoming the standard for Lync and Exchange.

To do the setup its really easy. Lets first setup our arrays

$kempurl = ""
[array]$kempVSIP = "", "", ""
[array]$kempVSPort = "443", "443", "25"
[array]$kempVSProt = "tcp", "tcp","tcp"
[array]$kempCheckPort = "https", "https", "smtp"
[array]$kempServiceType = "http", "http","gen"
[array]$kempVsDefaultGateway = "", ""
[array]$kempRealServerPort = "443", "443", "25"
[array]$kempcheckURL ="","","" #Make sure this has the same number of URLs as services being created, for SMTP leave null

and then another array of the IPs of our CAS

[array]$kempRealServers = "", ""

For this example I am just creating 3 virtual services, 1 for OWA, EAC, EWS, AS; 1 for Outlook Anywhere; and finally 1 for SMTP. Note that this is an example, There are definaly reasons to create seperate services for each directory. If you want to learn more I highly recommend listening to this epsoide of the UC Architects podcast with Greg Taylor.

Now lets get back to configuring, Before we continue, make sure you have already configured your load balancer and can get a simple connection first, look at this post for help connecting. Now lets add our new virtual services.

        $c = Get-Credential
        for($i = 0; $i -lt $kempVsIP.Length; $i ++) {

        $vs = $kempVsIP[$i]
        $port = $kempVsPort[$i]
        $name = $kempVsName[$i]
        $checkType = $kempCheckPort[$i]
        $defaultGateway = $kempVsDefaultGateway[$i]
        $servicetype = $kempServiceType[$i]
        $realserverport = $kempRealServerPort[$i]
        $checkurl = $kempcheckURL[$i]

            $uri = $kempurl+"/access/addvs?vs=$vs&port=$port&prot=$prot&NickName=""$name""&checktype=$checktype&checkport=$port&DefaultGW=$defaultgateway&VStype=$servicetype&ForceL7=yes&transparent=no"

            if($checkurl -ne ""){
                $uri += "&checkURL=$checkurl"

            $returnXML = Invoke-RestMethod -Uri $uri -Credential $c

            foreach($r in $kempRealServers){
                $uri = $kempurl+"/access/addrs?vs=$vs&port=$port&prot=$prot&rs=$r&rsport=$realserverport"

                Invoke-RestMethod -Uri $uri -Credential $c
            $uri = $kempurl+"/access/showvs?vs=$vs&port=$port&prot=$prot"
            $returnXML = Invoke-RestMethod $uri -Credential $c
            $status = $ReturnXML.Response| Select -ExpandProperty code
            if($status -eq "ok"){

So lets talk through this FOR loop, First, I found that trying to build the long string using the indexes of the arrays to cause inconsistant results, so I just set them to local variables then build the string. Next we just build the string and create the VS, add the check URL and the servers and thats it. Note that in this example we set Layer 7 transparency to off, there are many times where using L7 transparency will benifit your organization.

Thats it, the Kemp Technologies solution is pretty awesome and decently priced. If you haven't checked it out go download the demo here. Up next we will install Exchange 2013!


Configuring Exchange 2013 with PowerShell- Part 3: Storage

So we are doing really good, we have our networking configured and the Prereqs installed, lets get to the storage.

NOTE: This is designed around using Equallogic storage, if you are using a different kind of storage you can take some of the principals and apply them to your environment.
First lets setup our variables:

$ServerName = "EX2013-01"
$lUNNames = "$serverName-DB1", "$serverName-DB2", "$serverName-Logs"
$lUNSizes = "700000","700000","100000" # Size in MB
$driveNames = "DB1", "DB2", "Logs"
$driveLetters = "K", "L","M"
$eqlGroupIP = ""
$eqlDiscoveryIP = ""
$storagePoolName = "default"

Just like when we configured our networking, make sure everything is in the right order and that the same number of items are in each array.

For this next section, make sure you have either used the default HIT Kit install directory or change the first line to the install location. Dell has a really good PowerShell tutorial that can be downloaded alongside the HIT kit.

First we need to import the module:

import-module -name "C:\Program Files\EqualLogic\bin\EqlPSTools.dll"

Next lets connect to the group. NOTE: This requires you know the credentails for the group.

Connect-EqlGroup -GroupAddress $eqlGroupIP -Credential (Get-Credential)

Now that we are connected lets make some volumes, do note that this sets the server that the script is running on with read and write access. If this doesn't follow your organization settings change the New-EqlVolumeAcl cmdlet.

        $iqn = (Get-InitiatorPort).NodeAddress

        for($i = 0; $i -lt $lUNNames.Length; $i++)
                New-EqlVolume -VolumeName $LunNames[$i] -VolumeSizeMB $lUNSizes[$i] -StoragePoolName $storagePoolName -SnapshotReservePercent 100
                New-EqlVolumeAcl -VolumeName $LunNames[$i] -InitiatorName $iqn -AclTargetType volume_and_snapshot

Now lets enable iSCSI Initiator and refresh the group to discover our newly created volumes.

        Start-Service msiscsi
        Set-Service msiscsi -StartupType Automatic

        New-IscsiTargetPortal -TargetPortalAddress $eqlDiscoveryIP
        Start-sleep -Seconds 3
        Get-iscsiTargetPortal | Update-IscsiTargetPortal
        Start-sleep -Seconds 8

Here is the fun part, This can be a little confusing so I will first explain what these 17 lines does.
First we will connect the first volume in the $LUNNames variable then initalize the disk as GPT style, bring it online, format it assign the drive letter, use 64kb allocation size and name it, then go on to the next volume until it has configured all of the volumes in the array. This step took a decent amount of time to perfect, it is only designed to run once, if you have an error you will need to delete the volumes from the SAN and start over. Disks don't like getting initalized twice.

        for($i = 0; $i -lt $lUNNames.Length; $i++)
            $volume = $lUNNames[$i]
            Get-IscsiTarget | where{$_.NodeAddress -like "*$volume"} | Connect-IscsiTarget -IsMultipathEnabled:$true -IsPersistent:$true
          [int]$disknumber =  Get-Disk| Where {$_.BusType -match "iSCSI" -and $_.OperationalStatus -eq "Offline"}| Select -ExpandProperty Number

           start-sleep -Seconds 1

            Initialize-Disk -Number $disknumber -PartitionStyle GPT
            Set-Disk -number $disknumber  -IsOffline:$false

            start-sleep -Seconds 1

            New-Partition -DiskNumber $disknumber -UseMaximumSize -DriveLetter $driveLetters[$i]  | Format-Volume -AllocationUnitSize 64kb  -FileSystem NTFS -NewFileSystemLabel $driveNames[$i] -Confirm:$false
        start-sleep -Seconds 1


So thats it, this step will create, connect and configure the storage for your Exchange server. Each piece of this can be pasted together in order and run as one script which is the way I designed it. Next up we will configure a Kemp Load Balancer.


Configuring Exchange 2013 with Powershell- Part 2: Prerequisites

Now that we have our networking configured lets get the prereqs installed. I originally followed this guide to make sure I got everything in the right order. Thanks @ExchServPro

NOTE: This is for Server 2012 only, for Server 2008 R2 go here

When doing this I also wanted to run the installers for the filter packs, the UC runtime, and the Equallogic Host Integration Tools. The first step is easy, just open an elevated PowerShell prompt and paste this in:


Install-WindowsFeature AS-HTTP-Activation, Desktop-Experience, NET-Framework-45-Features, RPC-over-HTTP-proxy, RSAT-Clustering, RSAT-Clustering-CmdInterface, Web-Mgmt-Console, WAS-Process-Model, Web-Asp-Net45, Web-Basic-Auth, Web-Client-Auth, Web-Digest-Auth, Web-Dir-Browsing, Web-Dyn-Compression, Web-Http-Errors, Web-Http-Logging, Web-Http-Redirect, Web-Http-Tracing, Web-ISAPI-Ext, Web-ISAPI-Filter, Web-Lgcy-Mgmt-Console, Web-Metabase, Web-Mgmt-Console, Web-Mgmt-Service, Web-Net-Ext45, Web-Request-Monitor, Web-Server, Web-Stat-Compression, Web-Static-Content, Web-Windows-Auth, Web-WMI, Windows-Identity-Foundation, Multipath-IO -IncludeAllSubFeature -IncludeManagementTools


 After these complete a restart is required.

Next download the installers:
UC Runtime

Office 2010 Filter Packs
Office 2010 Filter Packs SP1

If you are using storage from Dell Equallogic login to download the HIT Kit

Now you could just kick off the installers in that order, but where is the fun in that.
First put all of those installers in the same directory. For my example I am going to go with C:\Prereqs
Now assign that location to a variable:

$prereqDirectory = "C:\Prereqs"

Now execute the following lines and they will run all of the installers. Do note that when the Equallogic HIT kit gets done installing, the server will automatically restart. The Equallogic HIT Kit will install all features, to customize the install see the installation guide.

    #UM intergration
    $install = $prereqDirectory+"\UcmaRuntimeSetup.exe /passive /norestart"
    Invoke-Expression $install
    Start-Sleep -Seconds 10
    #Filter Packs
    $install = $prereqDirectory+"\filterPack64bit.exe /passive /norestart"
    Invoke-Expression $install
    Start-Sleep -Seconds 10
    $install = $prereqDirectory+"\filterpack2010sp1.exe /passive /norestart"
    Invoke-Expression $install

    Start-Sleep -Seconds 6

    #Installs Equallogic Host Tools in the default directory 
    $install = $prereqDirectory+"\Setup64.exe /s /v/qn /V'/q ADDLOCAL=ALL'"
    Invoke-Expression $install

 That is it for the Prerequisites. Next up we need to configure the storage.


Configuring Exchange 2013 with Powershell- Part 1: Networking

When starting the process of configuring Exchange 2013 servers the first place I wanted to start was networking, I wanted to be able to just pass in some MAC addresses of the NICs and give them IPs, I also wanted everything to happen automatically. Using Powershell 3 made this easier then it used to be in older versions.

The first step to build 3 arrays. The first will hold the MAC address, the second the new names, the third the new IP addresses. An example can look like this:

[array]$macAddresses = "00-15-5D-00-0C-58","00-15-5D-00-0C-59",,"00-15-5D-00-0C-5A","00-15-5D-00-0C-5B","00-15-5D-00-0C-5C","00-15-5D-00-0C-5D"
[array]$nicNames =    "Management", "DAG", "iSCSI 1", "iSCSI 2", "iSCSI 3", "iSCSI 4"
[array]$ipAddresses = "", "", "", "", "", ""

The second is to make a loop that will go through and configure the NICs. One thing to note: make sure you have exactly the same number of data in all 3 loops in the correct order otherwise the NICs will be incorrectly configured.

for($i=0; $i -lt $macaddresses.Length; $i++){         
     [string]$macaddress = $macAddresses[$i]          
     Get-NetAdapter | Where-Object {$_.MacAddress -eq "$macaddress"} | Rename-NetAdapter -NewName $nicNames[$i] 
     New-NetIPAddress -InterfaceAlias $nicNames[$i] -IPAddress $ipAddresses[$i] -PrefixLength 24 

This loop will through and name the NIC based on the corresponding MAC address and then give it the IP , also setting the subnet mask. All of the cmdlets going forward are based on the interface name, it is crucial to have the interface name set correctly.

Now being able to change the name and IP is cool, but what about all of the other things that needs to get done to an interface? DNS, Jumbo packets? We can do all of that in Powershell! For example for a DAG NIC, you might want to do the following:

Set-DnsClient -InterfaceIndex DAG -RegisterThisConnectionsAddress: $false
#Disables NIC features for replication network that are not needed
Set-NetAdapterBinding -Name DAG -DisplayName "Client*" -Enabled $false
Set-NetAdapterBinding -Name DAG -DisplayName "File*" -Enabled $false

How about for the iSCSI network?

Set-DnsClient -InterfaceIndex iSCSI -RegisterThisConnectionsAddress: $false
#Enable Jumbo Packets
Set-NetAdapterAdvancedProperty -Name iSCSI -RegistryKeyword “*JumboPacket” -Registryvalue 9014

Now lets put it all together as one script:

[array]$macAddresses = "00-15-5D-00-0C-58","00-15-5D-00-0C-59",,"00-15-5D-00-0C-5A","00-15-5D-00-0C-5B","00-15-5D-00-0C-5C","00-15-5D-00-0C-5D"
[array]$nicNames =    "Management", "DAG", "iSCSI 1", "iSCSI 2", "iSCSI 3", "iSCSI 4"
[array]$ipAddresses = "", "", "", "", "", ""

for($i=0; $i -lt $macaddresses.Length; $i++)
     [string]$macaddress = $macAddresses[$i]
     Get-NetAdapter | Where-Object {$_.MacAddress -eq "$macaddress"} | Rename-NetAdapter -NewName $nicNames[$i] 
     if($nicNames[$i] -eq "Management")
         New-NetIPAddress -InterfaceAlias $nicNames[$i] -IPAddress $ipAddresses[$i] -PrefixLength 22 -DefaultGateway
         Set-DnsClientServerAddress -InterfaceAlias $nicNames[$i] -ServerAddresses,
     if($nicNames[$i] -like "DAG")
        Set-DnsClient -InterfaceIndex $nicNames[$i] -RegisterThisConnectionsAddress: $false
        New-NetIPAddress -InterfaceAlias $nicNames[$i] -IPAddress $ipaddresses[$i] -PrefixLength 28
        #Disables NIC features for replication network
        Set-NetAdapterBinding -Name $nicNames[$i] -DisplayName "Client*" -Enabled $false
        Set-NetAdapterBinding -Name $nicNames[$i] -DisplayName "File*" -Enabled $false                
     if($nicNames[$i] -like "iSCSI")
       Set-DnsClient -InterfaceIndex $nicNames[$i] -RegisterThisConnectionsAddress: $false
       New-NetIPAddress -InterfaceAlias $nicNames[$i] -IPAddress $ipaddresses[$i] -PrefixLength 24
       #Enables Jumbo Packets for iSCSI NICS only
       Set-NetAdapterAdvancedProperty -Name $nicNames[$i] -RegistryKeyword “*JumboPacket” -Registryvalue 9014
write-host "Configured NIC:"$nicnames[$i]

So by running this 32 line script you can guarantee that all of you NICs are configured correctly. It is also much faster then manually doing each step.

As I have said before, my ideas may not follow best practices, make sure you do your research to make sure configure your adapters correctly.

In my next post I will talk about installing the prerequisites for Exchange 2013

NOTE: You will either need to be running Server 2012 or have already installed WRM 3.0 to use these cmdlets